Taking a Step Back



People are often surprised when they hear how often I ground drive or long line Zorro. He has been pulling the cart for almost a year now, so whey do I go back to ground driving so often?


I feel it's important to go back to the basics sometimes. Especially for myself. If I want to practice new things or help Zorro with his frame I like to do this without the cart attached.


There are so many things we do to keep ground driving interesting:

  • We go hiking and I drive him ahead down the trail. We work on crossing water, crossing questionable bridges, navigating downed trees, boulder fields and steep mountain trails.

  • We walk down the road and encounter horses, dogs, neighbors, traffic, plastic bags blowing down the road...

  • We play here at home in the different "arenas" navigating cones and barrels and playing with transitions.

There is always something that we can refine and get even better. If we practice this online then our work in cart gets better as well.


I work hard on my own self, closing my hands softly on the lines and opening quickly. This in turn allows Zorro to get softer and softer.


One thing I LOVE to do is drive him with one line. This gives us a chance to work on our verbal commands as well as focus more on my body language than my hands. I work on having him go where I'm looking, where my focus is and less on "driving" him there. It's so much fun and challenging!!


We play around with photo shoots. I love dressing Zorro up in all kinds of garlands and hats and unicorn horns. He poses and poses... anything for a cookie! I also use this time to work on the command "Stand Still." He is to stand quietly where ever I put him. If he moves a foot he will not earn a cookie. If he stands nicely and makes cute faces he will get ALL of the cookies! LOL This was not hard for him to learn. Now I can take his halter off anywhere on our property and he will pose and pose when I tell him to "stand still."


How often do you go back to the basics?

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© 2023 by The Essential Horse. Mindy Schroder.